Week 16 & 17: Yoga Reflection During Pregnancy
My yoga journey began in January 2011. I starting practicing to mix up my workouts and get that yoga body. What I have learned through my journey has changed my practice , and my entire life. I now go to classes for the mental aspect every time. I believe the physical part of all my practices is always what my body needed in that moment, whether it be gentle to advanced. I do enjoy the physical practice, because it allows me to visually see myself opening up. My mental and my pranayama practice (breathing practice) have allowed me to let go of negative emotions more easily, and stay present.
I have a lot of gratitude for finding my yoga practice before I got pregnant. It allows me to find the mental space between thoughts to check in with my emotions and body. Everyday I get to check in with myself. It is amazing to be present and feel what this baby is doing to my anatomy, emotions and mindfulness. Even though the first trimester I had a lot of nausea, my meditation and pranayama practice eased my symptoms greatly. My physical practice allowed my body to adjust easier and detoxify my body.
There are so many things changing in my body these last two weeks. Some things allow for a deeper physical practice, while others are completely stopping certain range of motion. When I lye on my back now it feels the longest it has ever been and I can feel my bones shifting into different positions. Sometimes though, if I stay on my back too long I get sore when I sit up. Twists are getting harder by the day to breath in.
While I am teaching now, I feel myself having to catch my breath from talking and being on my mat demonstrating poses. I have to step off of my mat a lot more and talk my students through their practice. Which is great for my students to hear a cue, trust their practice and flow into that movement, rather than turning their neck to see me to correct themselves. I get to assist my students more often, which allows me to correct their alignment or get them a little deeper into a pose. I love when I move a student into a deeper variation of a pose and after class they tell me they couldn’t believe they could go that deep. I physically allow my student’s perspective of themselves to open to more possibilities of who the are, and what they are capable of. I absolutely love what I do.
I miss hot yoga desperately. I imagine my first class back post-baby. My saggy skin, tired eyes, and positive eagerness to just be on my mat in the heat. There’s a certain connection I feel with my body in a heated class. I can loosen up quicker, allowing myself to go further physically than in a cooler class. I find it easy to become present and in tune with my body because I get into deeper variations of poses quicker and have to stay more mindful so that I don’t injure myself. I enjoy that I can experience new physical limits. It always always always reminds me of why I am so in love with yoga. Being present, aware and giving to myself.
I have a great amount of respect for cooler classes as well. I couldn’t do a hot class everyday no matter how healthy my body was. I get dehydrated much quicker in a hot class, and if the humidity is high I have a hard time finding my full range of breath. I can breath through those challenges once or twice a week. Listening to my body is key.
I am getting past my 17th week and I can still lie on my belly. Some mother’s warn me to stop. I believe in listening to your body. As of recently, I cannot lift my legs or chest anymore for Salabhasana (locust pose) but I can still do Ardha Bhujangasana (baby cobra pose). The only time I have felt the baby is when I am on my stomach on my yoga mat, and it’s only been a handful of times. I sleep on my belly every night and that I am hoping will last throughout my pregnancy. I love sleeping on my belly!
So since my wedding on May 16, 2015 and learning we were pregnant on May 26, 2015, I have gained 20 pounds! I couldn’t believe it when I went to the doctors but it’s true. I have noticed the weight gain the most in my standing poses and arm balances. I feel like holding my body weight is a new challenge everyday. It has made me stronger in my poses because I had to choose; adjust and grow with my body, or believe that I couldn’t continue to grow in my strength postures. Well, if you know me I am always up for an experiment to see what my body does in a certain situation. I am so proud of my body for what I can do today, and all that it has done for me since my pregnancy.
I have had to learn to do different variations of poses because of my physical growth. I have to move my belly out of the way for certain poses or open my legs wider to get my belly in between my legs to fold deeper. My lower abdominals feel torn some days after I do deep heart openers in my practice. I have had to modify my heart openers/backbends to stop the belly cramps. The added weight helps me sink deeper into hip openers and folders. That always feels nice. I am still doing all my inversions, headstands, forearm stands, chinstands and handstands. My center of gravity has seemed to adjust gracefully with my body weight throughout my pregnancy.
Almost half way through this pregnancy and I can still do most things I could prepregnancy in my yoga practice. Of course the meditation is the one thing I need during my pregnancy, but keeping my physical practice is great too. I look forward to watching my body change and transform the rest of my pregnancy.